31/03/2008Protective Wetlands, a Value Added for Cancun

Wetlands offer Cancun protection and range of ecotourism possibilities

Cancun, March 21st.- A recent decision to protect more than 4,000 hectares of wetlands in Cancun expands the scope of tourist options at this popular destination for Mexicans and Americans, providing a special attraction for nature lovers and extra protection against the hurricanes that threaten the city’s beaches year after year.

The so-called “Nichupte Mangrove Swamps” Flora and Fauna Protection Area covers a total of 4,257 hectares (10,511 acres) of wetlands that are contiguous to Cancun’s hotel zone and make up a territory equivalent to 50 percent of the current developed area of Mexico’s leading tourist destination.

That figure surpasses what was recommended during this year’s “World Wetlands Day,” which since 1971 has been celebrated annually on February 2. On that occasion, tourist developments were advised to set aside between 15 and 20 percent of their surface area as conservation zones.

“The wetlands provide protection against storms and flooding. They stabilize the coastline and climatic conditions, control erosion and are a food source for wildlife,” said Teresa Ramirez Almazan, who represented the Mexican Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat, or Semarnat, during the most recent World Wetlands Day.

The wetlands not only will protect the coasts against the effects of storms and hurricanes but also will reduce the level of organic and inorganic material and contaminants in the water, generating environmental conditions favorable to the development of biological systems, as well as protecting and reducing the natural and human impact on other ecosystems.

This decision comes after Mexican President Felipe Calderon stated last year in Cancun that the preservation of the Nichupte Lagoon and its wetlands is of strategic environmental importance.
Cancun’s wetlands, specifically the Nichupte mangrove swamps, also are a tourist attraction for lovers of nature and ecotourism because they offer incomparable scenery and a varied biodiversity that represents Mexico’s great wealth of ecosystems. In protecting this natural treasure, Cancun, Mexico’s leading tourist destination in terms of numbers of visitors, confirms its position as a city that offers something for all different tastes and lifestyles.

# # #

About Cancun

Cancun is located in the northern part of the southeastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The island of Cancun is in the shape of a “7” and is bordered to the north by the Bahia de Mujeres; to the east by the Caribbean Sea; and to the west by the Nichupte Lagoon. Cancun is Mexico’s largest tourist destination and boasts 146 hotels with a total of 28,201 rooms. Opportunities for new experiences abound in Cancun, which offers visitors an ideal setting for interacting with nature and discovering Mayan culture.

Contact: Magdalena López
5249-4200 ext. 2326, 2226

North America
Gina Salazar
1 (786) 709-2681